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Michael Pigott speaks about sound, cinema and field recording at University of York

The dept’s Michael Pigott is giving a Research Seminar at Dept. of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of York this Wednesday (9 May) titled 'Sounds of the Projection Box: Liner Notes for a Phonographic Method'. The seminar will take place at 12.30pm in room TFTV109. This seminar will focus on research that emerged from The Projection Project, and leads to the release of the Sounds of the Projection Box album, which comes out in July.

Sounds of the Projection Box: Liner Notes for a Phonographic Method.

Abstract: In order to investigate, document and analyse the soundscape of the analogue projection box, before it passes into history, a series of audio recordings was made within functioning boxes, a selection of which will be released as an ‘album’ on the Gruenrekorder label in 2018. The recordings, made in UK boxes that maintain both 35mm film projection and digital projection, also capture the shifting sonic texture of this environment as it changes from primarily analogue to primarily digital operation. This paper will explore the role of phonographic field recording as a practical methodology within a film historical research project (the UK AHRC funded Projection Project), which investigates the role of the film projectionist and cinematic projection throughout the history of cinema exhibition in the UK. Through an analysis of both the recordings themselves, and the experience of making the recordings, it will extract some observations regarding the character, history and culture of the projection box as a lived environment and workplace. Just as cinema-goers seldom get to see inside this hidden room at the back of the auditorium, these sound recordings also reveal it to be a sound-proofed box, a noisy environment in which the interface between operator and machine takes audible form, in which noise of one sort indicates smooth operation, while another sort indicates faults that need to be addressed. It will consider the legibility of noise and propose that the relationship between projectionist and machine is significantly aural as well as visual and tactile.

The Projection Project at Flatpack Film Festival 2017 - 'Is That A Woman In The Box?' on Apr 9

From the ‘projectionettes’ of the two world wars right up to the present day, this audio-visual talk by Dr Rebecca Harrison (University of Glasgow) and Dr Richard Wallace (University of Warwick) will reveal the hidden history of the women who have worked in this typically masculine space.

When we think of cinema projectionists our mind might conjure up images of Buster Keaton wrapped in celluloid, or Alfredo chopping out kisses in Cinema Paradiso. Very rarely do we imagine that the person working away in the box behind us might be a woman, and yet there have been female projectionists throughout the history of British cinema.

On Sunday April 9th, The Projection Project will present this talk as part of Flatpack Film Festival 2017. Taking place in the Flatpack Hub (97 Smallbrook Queensway, + Google Map ) from 2.00pm to 3.30pm.

Find out more and book your tickets here:


Wed 29 Mar 2017, 16:39 | Tags: engagement staff projection project News Research impact

Claire Jesson and Richard Wallace give Film Talk at Warwick Arts Centre on Sat 7 May


Current PhD student Claire Jesson and research Fellow Dr. Richard Wallace (both part of The Projection Project) will give a film talk about one of th unsung heroes of cinema at Warwick Arts Centre on Saturday 7 May, 11am - 3pm.

The projectionist was the technical wizard who brought the screen to life, making audiences laugh, cry and even scream. An illustrated talk by the Projection Project’s Claire Jesson looks at how the movies imagine this mysterious figure, and Dr Richard Wallace has recorded projectionists’ memories spanning over 50 years of cinema history and the transformation from celluloid to digital exhibition. Includes a screening of Oscar-winning film, Cinema Paradiso, and a chance to glimpse inside Warwick Arts Centre’s own projection box.


Inside the projection box, plus screening of Cinema Paradiso

Lifting the veil on cinema’s secrets

Warwick Arts Centre Cinema

Saturday 7 May, 11am-3pm

Tickets £12 (£9)

Book at:

Mon 02 May 2016, 12:36 | Tags: projection project Events News Research impact

The Projection Project at Flatpack Film Festival Apr 19 - 24


The Projection Project, which is an AHRC funded research project that investigates projection, will contribute a number of events at the upcoming Flatpack Film Festival in Birmingham:


Richard Nicholson: The Projectionists

Gas Hall: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
From Wednesday 20 April at 11am to Sunday 24 April at 5pm 
A free event suitable for all ages


Photographer Richard Nicholson has been travelling the country, gaining privileged access to a realm where most cinema-goers never venture; the projection box. As film has made way for digital, both the job and the work-place have changed fundamentally, and Richard’s beautifully detailed images capture this pivotal moment.

This exhibition is part of our Projection Project, exploring the changing role of the projectionist over the past century. Some of the fruits of this work will be on show as part of the Celluloid City day, including Richard himself in conversation.

Gas Hall opening times: Wednesday – Friday 12pm – 7pm, Saturday 10.30am – 9pm, Sunday 10.30am – 5pm


Secrets of the projection box

Part of the Flatpack Film Festival’s ‘Celluloid City’ day

Gas Hall: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Sunday 24 April, 3.45pm 
A free event suitable for all ages


Hair in the gate. Cigarette burns. The Maltese Cross. Projectionists inhabit a parallel universe with its own lexicon and rituals. Last year we embarked on the Projection Project exploring different aspects of this world, and at this event we will share some of the stories, sights and sounds we’ve discovered.

Claire Jesson is interested in the projectionist as represented onscreen, and will be showing a selection of clips from different movies. Richard Wallace has travelled the country interviewing a range of film technicians about their work, while Michael Pigott has been capturing the unique auditory environment of the box. Finally, Alexa Raisbeck is a projectionist and artist who will be talking about how her work is informed by analogue film technologies.


There will also be a Virtual Projection Box to explore, and members of the research team will be there to talk about the project (both in the Gas Hall along with the Richard Nicholson exhibtion).

And WarPUnit - the Warwick Projection Unit - will see intrepid Warwick students taking to the streets of Birmingham to do some guerrilla outdoor projection during the festival.

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